Programs

Senior Honors Thesis


In the senior year, FMS majors may undertake a two-course, yearlong Senior Honors Thesis of their choice, which allows them to do independent, in-depth, self-directed work as scholars and/or artists under the direction of a committee of at least two faculty.

Attention Current Juniors:

For current juniors who are FMS majors
interested in pursuing a senior honors
thesis, please complete the proposal form
and turn it into the FMS office (Barnum Hall,
163 Packard Ave, Lower Level, Room 28)
by 5pm on the Monday after Spring Break
of the junior year.

The Senior Honors Thesis is the culminating experience of the FMS major, affording majors the opportunity to integrate, build upon and extend what they have learned in a direction of their choosing.

The Senior Honors Thesis ends with an oral defense of the finished work to the faculty committee that has overseen it. At the recommendation of the faculty committee, the Senior Honors Thesis may merit either honors, high honors, or highest honors. These are different from Latin honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude) that are determined by a student's overall GPA.

Only FMS majors who have been on the Dean's List at least twice and have a GPA of at least 3.4 are eligible to do a Senior Honor Thesis.

The thesis can take many forms. Examples include:

  • piece of original research
  • extended analysis of a film or media work
  • film
  • screenplay
  • TV show
  • PR, advertising or marketing campaign
  • piece of journalism


Students wishing to make a film or write a screenplay for the Senior Honors Thesis must have taken at least THREE filmmaking and/or screenwriting courses (or their equivalent) prior to the senior year.

All Seniors Honors Theses, whether creative or scholarly, MUST have a research component. Students are required to consult the scholarship, theory and practice relevant to the topic addressed in the thesis. If the thesis is creative, it MUST have a written component that includes a review of the research undertaken and a discussion of the creative process.

Students wishing to undertake a Senior Honors Thesis must:

  • Write a short proposal during the junior year that outlines the basic research questions or creative objectives of the thesis and identifies a faculty member who has agreed to serve as the chair of the thesis committee
  • Register for FMS 198—Senior Honors Thesis 1 in the fall semester of the senior year, which assists students in developing and preparing the thesis
  • Register for FMS 199—Senior Honors Thesis 2 in the spring of the senior year, which assists students in completing the thesis under the guidance of a faculty committee of at least two members
  • Submit a draft of the thesis by the first week after spring break of the senior year and then revise it in light of comments from committee members
  • Conduct a one hour oral defense of the thesis with all committee members by the end of April of the senior year

Recent Senior Spotlight: Jacob, Class of 2020
Jacob is a double major in Film and Media Studies and Computer Science. Learn about Jacob’s senior honors thesis process and the support he received from FMS to accomplish his goals.






Timetable for a Senior Honors Thesis


Junior year

  • discuss ideas with potential faculty committee chair
  • write draft proposal (2-3 pages) and submit it to potential faculty committee chair along with FMS Senior Honors Thesis proposal form
  • meet with potential faculty committee chair to discuss proposal and make any recommended changes
  • initiate IRB review if applicable for empirical projects
  • obtain signature of faculty member willing to serve as committee chair on the FMS Senior Honors Thesis proposal form
  • submit signed and completed FMS Senior Honors Thesis proposal form along with proposal and unofficial transcript to FMS office by the Monday after Spring Break


First semester senior year

  • register for FMS 198—Senior Honors Thesis 1
  • complete on-line Senior Honors Thesis Candidate Form
  • discuss the thesis process and objectives
  • undertake research and write research review
  • complete IRB review if applicable
  • finalize committee for thesis (at least two faculty members; may have additional members who are alumni, professionals in field, etc.)


Second semester senior year

  • register for FMS 199—Senior Honors Thesis 2
  • submit draft of thesis by the first week after spring break
  • revise thesis in light of comments from committee members
  • arrange a one hour oral defense of thesis with all committee members to take place by the end of April
  • submit a copy of the Senior Honors Thesis to Digital Collections and Archives in Tisch Library before Commencement, and a copy to FMS at 95 Talbot Avenue